January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Rachel Flax (Cher) is a single mother who has two young daughters, but she does her best to raise them well and when trouble arises, she uproots and finds them a new home. This usually happens after a scandal or a failed relationship, sometimes both and this time, she has taken her kids to the east coast. This does not please her fifteen year old daughter Charlotte (Winona Ryder), who wants to be secure and stable, even if her emotions aren’t. You see, she is in the middle of a hormone overload and in an effort to control herself, she ponders becoming a nun, even though she is Jewish. But when she meets Joe (Michael Schoeffling), a mild mannered young man, her desire to become a nun is harnessed, as she is torn between the two options. As she tries to make that decision, she must deal with her younger sister Kate (Christina Ricci), who wants to be a swimmer and is nicknamed Fishhead. All the while, Rachel is looking for love as well and seems to have a chance with Lou (Bob Hoskins), who has fallen head over heels for her. Can these three ladies attain their dreams, all while having to put up with each other?

This is a film that I like to watch, but I wouldn’t call it a modern classic or even a great motion picture. But Mermaids has some terrific performances and a certain charm, which is more than enough to make me want to revisit this title often. Cher gives a solid effort here, but the supporting cast of Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci, and Bob Hoskins also pitch in, which creates a very impressive basic core of performances. I also like the pop soundtrack, which adds a lot to the film’s tone and lightens things up at times. I think that because this film focuses on mother/daughter relationships, it is been branded a chick flick, but I simply don’t find that to be true. Of course, the ladies might be more taken with Mermaids, but I don’t think it will pain the guys as much as most female aimed pictures. A nice blend of comedy and drama, Mermaids is more than worth a look for those interested. This disc has the basics covered, but offers minimal supplement, so I think a rental will do in this case, unless you’re a serious fan of the flick.

She had been in a handful of films already and more than proven herself, but Winona Ryder added another solid performance to her resume here. She had been in a few darker films prior to this one and could have remained mired in that realm, but as she shows here, she can handle all sorts of roles. I do think the offbeat nature of this picture suits her well, but her work here is much different from her previous efforts. After seeing her perform in these earlier pictures, it is not hard to see how she became the star she is these days. Other films with Ryder include Beetlejuice, Autumn In New York, Heathers, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Reality Bites, Girl Interrupted, Edward Scissorhands, and Lucas. The cast also includes Bob Hoskins (Nixon, American Virgin), Cher (Mask, The Witches of Eastwick), Michael Schoeffling (Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, Sixteen Candles), and Christina Ricci (The Addams Family, Sleepy Hollow).

Video: How does it look?

Mermaids is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This release is an improvement over previous editions, but still turns out to be about an average transfer. The image looks good, but I expected a much sharper and cleaner presentation, so I was let down somewhat. The print used shows some debris at times, but the real problem is grain, which is present throughout the duration of the film. This dulls the colors and contrast most of the time, which forces me to lower the score a shade. But as I said, this is the best Mermaids has looked on home video, so all is not lost in the end.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included 2.0 surround track is more than adequate, since this is a dialogue driven picture. I do wish the soundtrack was a little more dynamic, but the music sounds good and I suppose no real complaints should be placed there. Not much to discuss in terms of sound effects, but the ones present sound solid, which is all you can ask in this case. I heard no flaws with the dialogue, which comes across in fine form here, no clarity or volume issues to contend with. This disc also houses a French 2.0 surround track, a Spanish mono option, and subtitles in Spanish, & French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

Disc Scores